Bought by the Blood

April 5, 2009

Shema

4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Dear Miya,

It is amazing to think that you are only a week old. As you grow older there will be many idols that compete for your affections. The other gods that will tempt you are friends, beauty, boys and so many others. These are not bad things in and of themselves, but only when not viewed biblically and placed above the one true God.

I was looking at your precious face the other morning and was thinking about your sweet ears in relation to the above verse. The two truths that I want you to never tire of hearing are your mother and father’s love for you. More important than that is the love of the Lord our God, because it is by the love that He has shown to us that we are able to love you.

He is holy, holy, holy and because of your sin you cannot be in relationship with Him. Your mother and I have both offended His holiness and are not worthy to be recipients of His love. He is a gracious and merciful God, there is none like  Him. He is the only god worthy of your worship. The good news about this God is that He offers a way for you to redeemed from your sins and reconciled to Himself through the blood of His Son Jesus. Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience and died the death that you deserved, so that you may have his righteousness and be made alive to God.

Since God has taken the initiative and brought us into relationship with Him, we seek to live our lives for Him. It is not to earn His favor, because we could never earn it. It is in faith, as a way to say thank you and bear our family resemblance to him. Our desire, as we proclaim who God is to you is that you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  We don’t know if we will homeschool you or what education will look like, but every chance we get will tell you about God’s love for you and His call on your life.

It may not always be in word, but our heart is that our deeds will always reflect the Father’s love to you.  When you see our lives, our desire is that you will see a life that is lived under influence of God’s love.  In the way we care for you see the Father’s care.  In the way we dote over you see God’s delighting over you.  In the way we delight to spend time with you be more aware of God’s delight to spend time with you.  As we journal His wondrous deeds, notice that He is always the same and never changes.  As we encourage you to make godly friendships allows those to point to the character of God.  When we discipline you know we do it because we love you and  it prepares you for God’s discipline as well as is good for you because it teaches you right from wrong. In the way we love to hold you, see how God is always holding in His arms of love.

Little Miya, you are so precious to your mom and I.  As we think about the love that we have for you, one of the things that amazes us, is how great our Heavenly Father’s love is.  We love because He first loved us.  Our love is nothing compared to His.  Inside of us, our love feels so great and so big for you, if we love you this much than His love is truly unimaginable.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current
Of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to
Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth
never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones,
died to call them all His own
how for them He intercedeth, watcheth
o’er them from the throne!

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February 12, 2009

He Gives No Bad Gifts

who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s
-Psalm 103:5

For the Christian, our eyes need to be constantly directed to the blessings that God has showered on us.  He is good and does good and His disposition towards those that are His children is always good (Psalm 119:68).  We can praise Him for His goodness because He has forgiven all of our sin and brought us from spiritual death to new life.  He has lifted us up from the darkness and despair we were in and placed us in the path of His steadfastness love and mercy (Psalm 103:2-4).  Even in trials and hardship we can have confidence that God will work that for our good (Romans 8:28).  As God’s children we know that when He disciplines us it is for our good, to make us holy.  Although it may not be pleasant it will yield fruit if we are submissive to what God is doing (Hebrews 12:7-11).

Due to our fallen minds, we need to train ourselves to view all that comes to us as God’s goodness.  He gives no bad gifts.  There is no circumstance that God is not sovereign over.  Every Father wants to give their children the best and that is what God is always doing, He will not give us pain for no reason, but to refine us as gold.  It is fully in His power to give us goodness upon goodness, so why should we ever doubt that He is giving us what is perfect for us in every moment of our lives.  If God dealt with us according to our sins or repaid us according to our iniquities we would be continually receiving the just due for our sins, which is His burning and continuous wrath.  Because of the grace that is available through the cross He has given us goodness, mercy and love all the days of our lives.

In God there is a richness of grace and mercy (Ephesians 2:4).  Because of this He shows common grace to all, so that in some His kindness might lead them to repentance (Romans 2:4), which is why we don’t all immediately receive the condemnation we deserve our sins.  For those who fear God, He has imposed on us supernatural grace to give us soft hearts to seek Him and initiate a relationship with us.  We would never fear God if He didn’t first turn our hearts toward Him.  On tip of that, God gives undeserving sinners gifts that we don’t deserve so that we can be renewed and strengthened.  He blesses us so that as we give thanksgiving for all temporal gifts we are brought back to our ultimate source of thanks, eternal life forever with Him.  These blessings spur us on towards faith and obedience and remind us of the unchanging and praiseworthy character of the God is that we serve.

November 14, 2008

Piper on parenting

There is a great story that John Piper tells about raising girls.  After raising four boys, the Pipers decided to adopt a little girl.  One of the things that was a bit of a learning curve for John was what it’s like to play with girls as opposed to boys.  Below is a humorous story that he told in a message of parenting and biblical masculinity.

Now I’ve got a 5 year old girl we adopted five years ago.  Talitha gets her playtime all to herself.  I did this four times with a guy.  I know guys.  Now I’m doing this with a girl and it doesn’t make any sense to me.  I’m turning this little dolls into bombers, I’m saying, “Let’s do this.  Let’s fly her over, she’ll drop the block on the top and boom!  blow it up!”

She says, “Let’s play people.”

I respond, “Well OK, what do you mean?”She goes over and gets her house and I look at her and say, “Well what are they going to do? What’s going to happen?”

She says, “Well, they’re going to have supper.”

“That’s all!?!?”

“Well, yeah.”

The whole playtime is just rearranging people.  I’m like, come on, we got have a bomber or a helicoptor or something.  Somethings gotta blow up!

The purpose of the story is two-fold.  One, the importance of building affection in the family and the fruit that it will bear down the line.  Secondly, is how if kids are shown that type of affection, than spanking can be a redemptive experience.  On the topic of affection and learning to play with his daughter Piper goes to say:

I’m learning.  I’m trying to figure this out because I’m going to be there for her…Will she want me around when she has to deal with guys and sexual things and guys are going to want her?  Will she come to me?  Will she listen?  My investment right now is the answer to that question.  Right now do I give myself to her?  Right now do I get my hands on her purely, purely, so that she knows what it’s like to be touched purely?  Hugged, kissed, held in my lap, feels a mans body and knows what it’s like.  You don’t have to sell yourself to a mans body, she knows what a pure thing is like.  You can wait for it.  Dads are so important in a kids life.  They grow up healthy because dad touched them in a right way.

Piper goes on to explain that spanking cannot be done out of anger, but as an act of love.  God disciplines His children because He loves them.  If we love our kids we will use discipline so that they don’t grow up to be disobedient and rebellious. Discipline and intimacy go hand in hand.  Children are taught to fear God, by how they fear their parents.  A healthy fear of God does not involve running from God, but running to God and having reverence and respect for Him.  Children should have that same attitude towards their parents as parents show kids the love of Christ.

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